GlynnDevins Leadership Perspectives on the Senior Living Industry
It’s an exciting time for senior living – increasing market demands, transformative residential and care experiences, emerging technology, and data intelligence are creating opportunities as well as challenges. In the first segment of our ongoing blog series, three members of our executive team share their insights on senior living. We’re confident you’ll find these expressions intriguing, provocative, challenging and insightful.
Competition is increasing. Here’s what you can do about that at your community today.
New communities are being developed at increasingly rapid rates. And while supply is generally staying in line with demand at the macro level, many markets are experiencing an imbalance, with the result being severe occupancy challenges. Similarly, providers with older campuses may struggle to keep up with newer communities or communities that are breaking through and resonating with customers in new and distinct ways in their market. Using data to focus your brand marketing strategy, including creating a clear targeting and positioning strategy, matters more than ever.
Competing successfully means fully understanding how your community is perceived in the market, knowing who’s moving to your community (and who’s not), and communicating value in a fresh and distinct way. More sophisticated approaches to customer segmentation and committing to building a unique brand experience are key. This goes for creating an exceptional work experience for employees as well. After all, who can better tell your story than the team that interacts and co-creates the community experience with your residents every day.
The need for modernized experiences isn’t coming – it’s here now.
A new generation is joining senior living communities, and these consumers are used to interacting with the world through technology. Depending on the type of community and where that community is, this need to have new and modernized experiences isn’t something that’s coming – it’s here now. As we enter 2019, it’s clear there’s an emphasis on senior living consumers’ need for experiences at communities to be tech-forward.
The Pew Research Center conducts a technology study every year, and with each report there are significant jumps in the older cohorts and their use of all things digital. Those of us in the senior living industry should be mindful of that and understand this encompasses more than having Wi-Fi in the lobby; it means integrating technology into all aspects of community life – from technologies designed to help you better engage and connect with residents to those that support care delivery.
Through-channel marketing platforms: The next big “frontier.”
Data and technology are allowing us as advanced marketers to design campaigns that are personalized for a unique data-driven conversation to enhance a brand experience. In the coming year, I believe we’ll see more of what we’re starting to refer to as “through-channel marketing platforms.” I think that’s going to be the next big “frontier” in senior living marketing. These various platforms will be fueled by data and one-to-one insights where we can really start to develop true communications that speak to an individual or household based on their needs, interests and online behavior.
The status quo in lead generation is now table stakes. It’s critical for our industry to layer on programs that take community leads, help screen and should qualify them for a client, and then pull them along in the sales cycle to deliver a sales-ready lead to a community.
We’re all hungry for marketing insights to help us drive more adoption of senior living.
As a firm that has been leveraging data to drive insights and recommendations for decades, it might surprise people to know we aren’t yet satisfied we’re doing enough. We’re hungry for more data – in particular, data that can drive marketing insights to help us increase the adoption of senior living. We want to know more about the buyer journey, the interactions our potential buyers are having with our marketing content, and the cadence for those interactions – because we want to adjust our strategies to shorten the time it takes seniors and their families to make this decision.
To accomplish positive shifts in adoption, I believe we need to be far more helpful to consumers and provide them with the information they want, when they want it, and how they want it. We need to be more authentic with our content, and we need to trust consumers to process more on their own. Yes, this is a complex sale, the most complex sale, so we need to innovate our content delivery and distribution to help consumers shop. In today’s world, consumers have so much information at their fingertips. Yet unbelievably, much of senior living is still clinging to the “only during the appointment” mentality, acting as if we can control the buyer’s journey, and I believe our consumers are annoyed by it. Our consumers are already reluctant and have a laundry list of reasons they aren’t ready to choose senior living – the last thing we need to be is exclusive and controlling of information and access.
I’m impatient to make headway on our mission to help our clients get more seniors to a “yes.” I’m impatient to make positive inroads on seniors’ perceptions of the category, so our friends in sales have fewer objections to work through.
I’m excited to work alongside a leadership team dedicated to spearheading the data and technology transformation our industry needs so badly. Think about it. We have databases full of seniors who inquire, and we accept the premise that the clear majority of them will not choose senior living. Let’s stop accepting that costly premise and learn more about what they need from us to get to “yes.”
Marketing technology and a 360-degree data-driven, customer-centric approach will enable communities to build personal relationships with prospects and leads.
Creating relationships with prospects and leads has always been personal. Technology and data will help communities see the customer journey through the customer’s eyes. It isn’t about individual touch points anymore; it’s about the overall customer experience across many touch points in a hyperconnected, hyperpersonalized world.
Senior living communities still use tried-and-true demographic prospect targeting and send out mailings to promote events and/or general community awareness. Many communities hope that mailings will be enough to keep their pipelines full of new prospects and future sales. At GlynnDevins, we believe communities can and should speak to prospects and leads on an individual level. Our investment in data and technology does and will continue to enable not only our most progressive clients to be able to talk to their leads in a one-on-one format but will benefit all communities we support.
This is important because data will help communities unlock understanding of their current resident profiles to build future targeting and messaging strategies. No longer will communities only purchase a list of age- and income-qualified, geographically specific prospects to fuel their databases. Today, individual customer behavior, interests and shopping insights – coupled with the appropriate demographic insights, media and device preferences, and sales touches – can be leveraged with automation to create custom messages along the hyperindividualized journey.
How data and marketing technology will shorten the sales cycle.
By leveraging a hypertargeted approach and studying individual behavioral cues, personalized data insights will shorten the overall sales cycle and empower sales counselors to better understand who their leads are and when a prospect or lead is interested (even if they aren’t physically picking up the phone or visiting a community to learn more).
In addition, marketing automation triggers communication based on CRM inputs and/or behavioral cues, so customers receive real-time, incredibly relevant (personal) messages that help move them faster along the journey. Senior living communities that focus on using data to see through their customers’ eyes, employ personalized automation strategies, and master the art of the online sale will surprise and delight leads and win future sales.
How can senior living communities afford personalized messaging?
In today’s world, there are so many more ways communities can reach customers, but senior living marketing budgets haven’t expanded exponentially to cover every personalized touch point. Clearly, a personalized approach for every prospect and lead could mean more asset creation, and thus, more investment.
Our leadership team is focused on taking senior living marketing into the future with solutions that leverage data to maximize investment in the right tactics for the right customers. In addition, we’re focused on leveraging connected marketing technology platforms to help communities create relevant messages via personalized assets for every touch point along a unique journey.
Meet Sue, Candice, Janel and the rest of our leadership team here.